Friday, September 23, 2016

Reading Out of My Comfort Zone

I have a pretty well set comfort zone when it comes to books. Gillian books are super easy for me to recognize.

Non-Gillian books are basically anything without magic or kissing or explosions or dragons or princesses or warriors or banter. They're issue books, and adult novels, and books with  no kissing whatsover. Books where nobody even thinks about kissing. Like, not even for a teeny second.

Let the record show, I LOVE my comfort zone. I read for me, and to enjoy myself, and to be obliterated in just the way I like to, and to be put together in just the way I need to. I love my tropes, and I love books that play with my tropes. It is a vast sandbox I play in, with many different genres and styles of writing and tones, but it's definitely a sandbox with edges. We all have them.

You  may not be a ship-monster like me, or a fantasy-whore like me. Maybe you don't go all gooey at the sight of a dragon, or your eyes don't turn to hearts the moment a synopsis hints at hate to love. Maybe you--gasp--actually prefer books without any magic at all.

Maybe you prefer your contemporaries edgy (I like fluff) or grim (I like funny with a side of the deeps) or full of tragedy/illnesses/issues/drama llamas/DARKNESS (I really, really just like the kissing). Maybe you like horror (oh god please no) and things that go bump in the night (NO BUMPS PLEASE ALL SMOOTH SAILING). Maybe you don't like non-fic, or if you do, it's not the same kind I like--historicals about dead kings and queens who fuck shit up (and each other). Maybe you like books with bleak endings (I prefer happily ever afters).

But comfort zones--we all got 'em. Even if I think yours are weird and scary.

Sometimes, when I venture out of my cozy little sandbox, things go TERRIBLY and I realize, oh god no, back to the land of ships and banter, please, I want a fiery heroine in a flouncy petticoat and a dagger in her garter and a handsome prince she can argue with for a few hundred pages. Take me away from this foreign land of horror and literary fiction, my body is too fragile, I cannot.

And then sometimes, when I'm brave enough to take the plunge, it is so freaking rewarding. I feel like  Supergirl when I conquer a book outside my comfort zone and realize I liked it. A lot. OH MY GOD I'M, LIKE, GROWING AS A PERSON AND SHIT.

Books I never would have discovered if I hadn't been brave enough to edge out of the Gillian Books Bubble:

So yeah, I think it's good to have a ZONE. I know what I like, and I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing what your heartbooks are. And there are still some topics and subject matters I straight up have to...not avoid, really, but make super duper sure I can handle in this iteration (grief, for one). But yeah. Sometimes I LOVE reading out of my comfort zone. Putting on a different hat, being a cool new Gillian for a day. A CRIME NOVEL GILLIAN, or a FANCY PANTS LITERARY AWARD Gillian, or a...yeah, no, still not going to be a Stephen King Gillian. Not quite that brave yet.

So what about you? Do you have a comfort zone? What was the last book you tried (and/or loved) outside of your zone?


  1. I definitely have a comfort zone when it comes to books, and it's really not surprising to me that we have very similar ones ;) I tend to be drawn to fluffy contemporaries, gripping fantasies, historical romances and thoughtful contemporary adult literature! But I like going out of my comfort zone now and again, and it often winds up being a 50/50 thing - 50% of the time, it works out and I find a new book to love and 50% of the time, it fails and I crawl back to my favorites. At least I tried, right? ;)

  2. Wow, I somehow always forget that our comfort zones are quite different. I'm drawn to the dark contemporaries and issue books are usually some of my ABSOLUTE favorites. I am working REALLY hard at going out of my comfort zone and I've read two really awesome out of my comfort zone books this summer (Fear the Drowning Deep & A Shadow Bright and Burning)

    Side note, of those 12 books that you enjoyed that were out of your comfort zone, 5 of those are favorites of mine

  3. I definitely have a comfort zone, even though it's relatively versed. Mostly, it has to have romance. I'm a huge fan of that. Now, whether it's contemporary or fantasy, cute or thiller-y, YA or adult, that's really up in the air.

    However, I do stay the heck a lot from tear-jerkers, and I have a hard time with things that are considered "really important books". Like, I'm super afraid of them and the way they might change me, if that makes sense? I have some of Ellen Hopkins books that I promised myself I would read and I am still way too scared to read them because I'm am not guaranteed a HEA!

    The biggest Out of My Comfort Zone book I've read I think is The Fault in Our Stars, and that book hurt like a bitch. I think this year I was strongly within my comfort zone the whole way through... 'Cause I really, really need to be in the mood to challenge myself in order to try something new (it took me 18 years to try anything other than YA fantasy........)


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